Pittsburgh Penguins History: Looking Back on the 2011-12 Losing Streak

Pittsburgh Penguins, Marc-Andre Fleury (Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images)
Pittsburgh Penguins, Marc-Andre Fleury (Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images) /

With Loses starting to mount for the Pittsburgh Penguins and playoff races tightening up, there is still plenty of time for momentum to shift and for the Penguins to get things back together.

While the Pittsburgh Penguins are currently embroiled in a 6 game losing streak, here’s a look back at the 2011-12 season, where the Penguins found themselves in a similar situation.

So It Begins

Dec. 29, 2011, vs. Philadelphia Flyers (1st loss)

If you’re going to start a long losing streak, you might as well begin it against one of your biggest rivals.

Jordan Staal opened the scoring less than a minute into the contest giving the Penguins an early jump on their cross-state foes.

Philadelphia didn’t let the early defensive lapse deflate their aspirations for a win, as they rattled off the next three goals.

Tyler Kennedy’s 5th goal of the season drew the Penguins within one but that’s as close as they would get.

Philidelphia earned a 4-2 victory.

Dec. 31, 2011, vs. New Jersey Devils (2nd loss)

The Penguins hoped to end 2011 on a high note, but things didn’t quite pan out that way.

Brooks Orpik covered a puck in the crease near the end of the 1st period, which resulted in a penalty shot being awarded to the Devils. Ilya Kovalchuck made no mistake beating Marc-Andre Fleury, and David Clarkson added another goal in the dying seconds to give New Jersey a 2-0 lead at the end of the 1st period.

Chris Kunitz’s 13th goal of the season, scored on the power-play in the 3rd period, would give some life to the Penguins, but nothing else materialized. Pittsburgh dropped the game 3-1

Third and Hardly Any Goals

Jan. 6, 2012, vs. New York Rangers (3rd loss)

With almost a week off between games, the Penguins were probably hoping that the 1st game of the new year would be a great place to start to reverse their fortunes.

Defenseman Ben Lovejoy scored his first goal of the season in the 1st period and It proved to be the only offense the team could muster against the Rangers and Henrik Lundqvist.

Lundqvist made 37 saves in the victory and blanked the Penguins on all four of their powerplay opportunities.

The Rangers took the game 3-1 and handed the Penguins their 3rd consecutive loss.

Jan. 7, 2012, vs. New Jersey  (4th loss)

The Penguins were hell-bent on revenge in this return bout from new years eve.

Pittsburgh laid siege on Martin Brodeur’s net, throwing 42 shots at him, with only Evgeni Malkin’s 16th goal of the season getting passed the hall-of-fame goaltender.

Special teams sunk Pittsburgh as New Jersey scored short-handed and power-play goals, en route to another 3-1 victory.

As bad as it gets

Jan. 10, 2012, vs. Ottawa (5th loss)

In what would be considered the worst loss in the stretch, the Penguins found themselves down by four goals to the Senators early in the 2nd period, before Malkin, spoiled Craig Anderson’s shutout bid midway through the frame.

Although Pittsburgh held Ottawa shooters to 23 shots, the damage had already been done and the Penguins found themselves with their fifth consecutive loss by a score of 5-1.

Jan. 11, 2012, vs. Washington (6th loss)

This game featured a real goaltender duo, between Fleury and Capitals goaltender and future Penguin Tomas Vokoun.

Jason Chimera’s goal late in the 1st was the only offense generated by either team, as Fleury made 20 saves and Vokoun made 30 saves to earn the shutout, which handed Pittsburgh its 6th consecutive loss.

Quite a Response

Perhaps, being bested by their mortal enemies at both ends of the streak was enough motivation for the Pittsburgh Penguins roster to rally around each other.

Following the loss at the hands of the Capitals, Pittsburgh strung together an eight-game win streak, from Jan. 13 – Jan. 31 and then an eleven game win streak from Feb. 21 – Mar. 17, which propelled them into the play-offs.

Although the Penguins succumbed to the Flyers in the 1st round of the playoffs in a wild series of games. It just goes to prove that fortunes can reverse at any moment and what is a losing streak today, may become a winning streak tomorrow.

What are some of your memories of the Pittsburgh Penguins losing streak? Drop them in the comment section below?